Now Um-keis, a fortified chief city of Decapolis, of considerable importance in the time of Christ, and having many Greek inhabitants. It lay south of the river Hieromax, seven miles level summit of a steep limestone hill. A few ruins are found on the top of the hill; many excavated tombs on its sides, still partly occupied as residences; and warm springs at its base. The country of the Gadarenes extended to the Jordan and the Sea of Galilee; and in the part of its bordering on the lake occurred the miracle recorded in
the capital of the Roman province of Peraea. It stood on the summit of a mountain about 6 miles south-east of the Sea of Galilee. Mark (Mr 5:1) and Luke (Lu 8:26-39) describe the miracle of the healing of the demoniac (Matthew (Mt 8:28-34) says two demoniacs) as having been wrought "in the country of the Gadarenes," thus describing the scene generally. The miracle could not have been wrought at Gadara itself, for between the lake and this town there is the deep, almost impassable ravine of the Hieromax (Jarmuk). It is identified with the modern village of Um-Keis, which is surrounded by very extensive ruins (Illustration: Ruins of Um-Keis), all bearing testimony to the splendour of ancient Gadara.
The most interesting remains of Gadara are its tombs, which dot the cliffs for a considerable distance round the city, chiefly on the north-east declivity; but many beautifully sculptured sarcophagi are scattered over the surrounding heights. They are excavated in the limestone rock, and consist of chambers of various dimensions, some more than 20 feet square, with recesses in the sides for bodies...The present inhabitants of Um-Keis are all troglodytes, 'dwelling in tombs,' like the poor maniacs of old, and occasionally they are almost as dangerous to unprotected travellers.
The country of the Gadarenes" (Mr 5:1; Lu 8:26,37, in Alex. manuscript; and Mt 8:28, the Vaticanus manuscript. But the Sinaiticus manuscript has: "Gazarenes" in Matthew," Gerasenes" in Mark, and in Luke "Gergesenes." Vaticanus has: "Gerasenes: in Mark and Luke. (See GERASA.) The Alexandrinus manuscript has: "Gergesenes" Matthew 8. Probably Matthew, writing for those intimately acquainted with the topography, names the obscure but exact locality; Mark and Luke, writing for those at a distance, name Gadara the well-known capital of the place. The one name is probably more specific, the other more general.) Gadara was the most strongly fortified city in Perle. It was near the river Hieromax (now the bed Sheriat el Mandhur), E. of the sea of Galilee over against Tiberius, at 16 miles Roman distance, on a hill beneath which were warm springs called Amatha.
Its ruins are identified with Um Keis on an isolated hill N.W. of the mountains of Gilead. Christ coming across the lake from Capernaum lauded at the S.E. corner, where the steep bank descends from the eastern highlands into the Jordan valley. There is only the one place where the swine could have rushed down a steep into the water. Gergesa was probably under the jurisdiction of Gadara. Two demoniacs met Him near the shore. A "great herd of swine" were feeding on the adjoining slope. Upon the demons entering them they rushed down the "steep" into the lake and were drowned. Josephus (Ant. 17:13, section 4) explains the difficulty of swine being there though forbidden by the Jewish law, "Gadara was a Grecian city." On the keepers informing the people of what had happened, "the whole city came out to meet Jesus," and "besought Him to depart out of their coasts" (Job 21:14-15; 22:17).
Men ignore God's word (Ho 9:12), "woe to them when I depart from them" (De 31:17); and the awful doom, Mt 25:41. Contrast the cured demoniac, Mr 5:15-16,18. Gadara was reduced to ashes by Vespasian in the beginning of the Roman war which ended in the overthrow of Jerusalem. It is an interesting coincidence that tombs still abound in the cliffs round the city, excavated in the limestone rock, some as large as 20 feet square, with side recesses for bodies. Stone slabs form the doors. Like the demoniacs, the people of Um Keis still dwell in the tombs. The ruins of Um Keis attest the greatness of Gadara anciently; from the gate a straight street, with a colonnade on each side, passed through the city; the pavement is almost perfect, marked here and there by chariot wheels; the columns are prostrate.
A town whose ruins (extensive, but in recent years much destroyed by the natives) bear the name of Umm Keis, about six miles S. E. of the Sea of Galilee. It was a town of the Decapolis, probably Greek in origin, and was the chief city of Per
The capital of the Roman province of Peraea. It is referred to in the Gospels as in 'the country of the Gadarenes.' It has been identified with the ruins at Umm Keis, 32 40' N, 35 40' E, that is S.E. of the Sea of Galilee, but the town is too far from the sea to have been the scene of the miracle; besides which there is a deep ravine between the ruins of the town and the sea. There are many large tombs in the district, in which some of the rude inhabitants still take up their abode, as the demoniac had done. Mr 5:1-3. See GADARENES.
a strong city situated near the river Hieromax, six miles southeast of the Sea of Galilee, over against Scythopolis and Tiberias, and 16 Roman miles distant from each of those places. Josephus calls it the capital of Peraea. The ruins of this city, now called Um Keis, are about two miles in circumference. The most interesting remains of Gadara are its tombs, which dot the cliffs for a considerable distance around the city. Godet says there is still a population of 200 souls in these tombs. Gadara was captured by Vespasian on the first outbreak of the war with the Jews, all its inhabitants were massacred, and the town itself, with the surrounding villages, was reduced to ashes.
GADARA, a city which gave name to the country of the Gadarenes; situated on a steep rocky hill on the river Hieromax, or Yermuck, about five miles from its junction with the Jordan. It was a place of considerable note in the time of Josephus, and the metropolis of Peraea, or the country beyond Jordan. It was also celebrated for its hot baths. The vicinity was likewise called the country of the Gergesenes, from Gerasa, or Gergesa, another considerable city in the same neighbourhood. Thus the miracle of our Lord performed here is represented by St. Mark to have been done in the country of the Gadarenes, Mr 5:1; and by St. Matthew, in that of the Gergesenes, Mt 8:28.